Extremists threaten court action over city march ban
FAR-RIGHT extremists are planning a new demonstration in the Capital and have vowed to pursue city leaders through the courts over a decision to ban them from marching.
The Scottish Defence League (SDL), which says it opposes Islamic extremism, had lined up a procession on May 26, but that was ruled out by the council.
Today, SDL leaders accused city chiefs of deliberately delaying the handover of documents necessary to their appeal, which was lodged yesterday, and said they would take action under equality laws.
They added that members would take to the streets in September if the appeal against the ban fails or is not heard before the original date.
The council rejected the claim, insisting it doesn’t have to provide a copy of the order explaining its decision until at least two days before a procession is due to be held.
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The SDL’s move comes after members of the previous administration’s licensing sub-committee decided to ban the extremists from marching over public safety and disorder concerns.
James Smith, Edinburgh organiser for the SDL, which still intends to hold a static demo on May 26, said: “We met with the council and were told we would receive a letter within two days stating the reasons for prohibiting it.
“Until we got that letter, we could not start the appeal process, but we only got the letter last week.
“It’s led us to believe that the council thought that, by stalling, the appeal would not be heard in time.
“The council have now opened a can of worms. We will be holding a static demo in the Grassmarket in defiance of their fascist and discriminatory attitude to our group.
“We have agreed not to return until September 30, as the police said they will be understaffed in June, July and August.”
Unite Against Fascism committee member Luke Henderson said: “Any time groups like that organise, they are able to get their message across and you see more racial abuse and more racism – why should outsiders be allowed to bring a message of hate into our city?”
Leaders of the Pakistan Society of Edinburgh, however, said they were relaxed about the march.
Amjad Chaudhry, society chair, said: “As long as they do not start shouting against Muslims and mosques, and trying to create trouble, then there should be no problem.”
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the applicant’s intention to appeal but as yet have received no notification of this. The council is satisfied that it has fully complied with the relevant legislative requirements.”